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Degree type


Course length

9 months full-time, 18 months part-time


Durham City

Program code


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Course details

The Graduate Diploma in Philosophy is a nine month conversion course (18 months part-time), designed for those who already have a degree and wish to pursue an interest in philosophy. No formal training in philosophy is required. The course provides an ideal learning environment if you are interested in progressing to an MA in Philosophy, or simply want the opportunity to learn about philosophy.

Course structure

The Diploma has two main components:

  1. Four undergraduate modules. At least two of these must be at Level 3 and no more than one should be at Level 1.
  2. A dissertation of 12,000 words (double module).

You can choose from a wide range of modules, which in the past have included:

Level 1:

  • Ethics and Values
  • Knowledge and Reality
  • Introduction to Logic
  • Reading Philosophy
  • History and Theory of Medicine
  • Introduction to the History and Philosophy of Science

Level 2:

  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Political Philosophy
  • Language, Logic and Reality
  • Moral Theory
  • Theory, Literature and Society
  • Biomedical Ethics Past and Present
  • Science and Religion
  • Modern Philosophy I
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Philosophy of Economics: Theory, Methods and Values
  • Ancient Philosophies West and East

Level 3:

  • Modern Philosophy II
  • Aesthetics
  • Applied Ethics
  • Issues in Contemporary Ethics
  • Twentieth Century European Philosophy
  • Language and Mind
  • History of the Body
  • Philosophical Issues in Contemporary Science
  • Metaphysics
  • History and Philosophy of Psychiatry
  • Gender, Film and Society
  • 20th Century European Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Psychiatry
  • Ethics in Business Practice
  • Formal and Philosophical Logic


You will receive an average of eight timetabled contact hours per week. The contact hours come in the form of lectures, tutorials and seminars, depending on the four modules chosen by you. In addition, you are offered six hours of one-to-one dissertation supervision with an expert in your chosen research area.

Philosophical development involves not only familiarising yourself with a body of knowledge but also acquiring skills in critical reasoning and argumentation. In addition to introducing you to key works in philosophy, the course offers many opportunities for dialogical interaction. Lecture sessions include time for questions, tutorials consist mainly of structured, critical dialogue in a supportive environment, and seminars provide opportunities for extended discussion. Dissertation supervision meetings give guidance on suitable reading, critical discussion of relevant sources, detailed advice on how to write a 12,000 word piece of research, and intensive critical engagement with your philosophical position and argument.

Timetabled contact is only a part of the learning process; its aim is to provide you with the knowledge and skills required to navigate the relevant literature yourself and to pursue independent learning. Lectures and accompanying documents contextualise material and introduce you to topics, positions and debates. At least four hours of additional study per week are recommended for each lecture or seminar, which includes reading and the completion of assignments. Having completed the reading, you will engage in discussion in seminars or return to lecture topics in small group tutorials. These will help you to refine your understanding of the material and to develop the reasoning skills needed to formulate, present, defend and criticise philosophical positions.

You can also benefit from a range of other activities in the department, including the department’s postgraduate philosophy society (EIDOS), weekly research seminars and reading groups, and occasional conferences, workshops and Royal Institute of Philosophy lectures. The programme director remains in contact with you throughout the year and is always available to discuss any issues that might arise, whether personal or academic.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for this course have been designed to encourage applications from as wide a range of interested and able people as possible, including mature students, who may have been away from university for a long time, and international students.

As an applicant for our Graduate Diploma, you will usually have achieved a 2.1 or equivalent in a previous degree but this is not a strict requirement and decisions are made on a case by case basis.

Additional requirements:

At least one example of written work on a philosophical theme (up to 5,000 words).

English language requirements

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £6,750 per year
EU students £15,750 per year
Island students £6,750 per year
International students £15,750 per year

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities


A philosophy degree trains one to think clearly and rigorously, and also fosters a capacity for the kind of ‘blue-sky thinking’ that employers cherish. Our graduates enter a wide range of career areas including teaching, law, journalism, business and politics.

Department information


We have expertise in an exceptionally broad range of areas, including metaphysics, aesthetics, ethics, feminism, phenomenology, philosophy of mind and the history and philosophy of science and medicine.

All of the Department’s research staff are leading experts in their field. Not only are our staff well-placed to convey the cutting-edge work in their area of philosophy, but they are also high-quality teachers. We provide expert guidance and are available for one-to-one discussions. Our aim is to inspire our students to question everything, but also to foster a broad range of transferable skills, such as the ability to read and think analytically, to understand complex concepts, and to construct rational arguments.

For more information see our department pages.


  • World Top 50 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2022
  • 8th in The Complete University Guide 2023 and in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023
  • 9th in The Guardian University Guide 2023


For a current list of staff, please see the Philosophy Department pages.

Research Excellence Framework

  • Top 20 for the quality of our research (REF 2021)


Durham Philosophy department is amongst the most prestigious departments in the UK, and we pride ourselves on our excellence in research and teaching.

The Durham Philosophy community is a lively, friendly group of people including undergraduates, postgraduates and staff, committed to the pursuit of philosophical knowledge and understanding. We are an open and friendly department, which accommodates work in both ‘analytic’ and ‘Continental’ Western philosophical traditions


Find out more:

Apply for a postgraduate course (including PGCE International) via our online portal.  

Visit Us

The best way to find out what Durham is really like is to come and see for yourself!

Join a Postgraduate Open Day
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 17:00
Find out more
Self-Guided Tours
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00
Find out more

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